Is Your Copyright Enforceable In Federal Court? The United States Supreme Court Reinforces The Impact Of Registration

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A recent case, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.Com, is bringing to light a fundamental interpretation in copyright law – the actual registration versus seeking registration. On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held the Copyright Office must actually grant copyright registration before a claimant can file a copyright infringement suit in federal court. At the same time, however, a copyright owner can still recover for infringements that occur both before and after registration of a copyright. Business owners should be very clear of their registration status or run the risk of losing their ability to file a complaint for copyright infringement. If the United States Copyright Office hasn’t confirmed copyright registration, you may not have the ability to enforce your ownership rights after all.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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